|Thursday, March 2, 2000,
oppose move on banks
defeat gracefully: CM
Puran Singh says no to resignation
theft: SDO among 10 suspended
under threat: Jauhal
show-cause notice to Principal Secy
50 pc respond to IT notices
cautioned on Clintons visit
to tackle unemployment
flay Union Budget
Upasna Singh honoured
of newsman mourned
bid to remove encroachments
to probe demolitions
of dacoits busted
millers a worried lot
leaders flay import of wheat
Unions oppose move on banks
CHANDIGARH, March 1 Public sector banks have reacted furiously to the Union Governments proposal to reduce the Governments holding in such banks to 33 per cent.
Alleging that it was the first major step towards privatisation of government-owned banks, various employees unions of banks have stated that the Union Government would not be allowed to do so, come what may.
While presenting the Union Budget yesterday, the Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, had stated that the government would reduce its stake in the public sector banks to 33 per cent. He had also announced some other steps as a plan for bank reforms.
Talking to TNS, Mr N.K. Gaur, Chairman of the State Sector Banks Employees Union, said here today that employees of banks concerned would stage a demonstration in Delhi on March 8 to highlight how a nexus between politicians, industrialists, traders and top managements of banks had bled the majority of banks dry.
Employees were expecting a concrete proposal in the form of some legislation for speedy recovery of the non performing assets (NPA) to the tune of Rs 65,000 crore but the Finance Minister had not come out with such a proposal. He said that unions of bank employees had recently taken up the issue of recovering dues from the industrialists with the authorities concerned.
The government was urged to declare the wilful defaulting by industrialists, as far as returning of loan money is concerned, as a criminal offence. But no step had been taken in this connection.
The Finance Minister has stated that seven more debt recovery tribunals (DRTs) would be set up. But the performance of the existing three such tribunals was very poor. Out of NDAS worth Rs 65,000 crore, the existing tribunals had recovered Rs 70 crore from April, 1996, to July, 1997 Rs 68 crore from August, 1997 to March, 1998, and Rs 178 crore from April, 1998, to March, 1999. Several decades would be spent to recover the entire amount if the DRTs continued to work at the current pace.
Giving details, Mr Gaur said that there were 5221 account holders who were to return Rs 27,777,13 crore of banks. Further elaborating in this conaccount holders from whom Rs 3,230 crore was to be recovered and 17 account holders who were to return Rs 3,376 crore. The government was showing its ineptness in recovering Rs 6606 crore from only 67 account holders.
There was nothing wrong with the public sector banks as far as gross profit was concerned. In 1996-97, operating profit of public sector banks was Rs 8887 crore and in 1997-98 it was Rs 10,274 crore in the last financial year it was Rs 10,577 crore. However, the problem had been created by such a heavy amount of NPAs.
Mr Vijay Sharma, Senior Vice-President of the Indian Bank Employees Union (North Zone), said that the same defaulter industrialists would buy the stakes of banks offered by the government with the money they were to return to banks taken as loan. He said that at least 15 private banks had failed in the country in the past few years. There was no guarantee that privatisation of banks would turn these into strong institutions.
Urging for setting up an independent audit authority for public sector banks to prevent the mischief in manufacturing balance sheets by top managements of such banks, Mr Vijay Sharma said that in the past top officials of certain banks did so which made their banks sick. This could be avoided by doing audit independently.
Mr Sharma said that the
government wanted to help the private banks by selling
holdings in the public sector banks. Private banks were
facing a major threat from the public sector banks which
had a nation wide network. Even public sector banks had,
by and large modernised their operations and it had
increased the threat to private banks. A lobby of private
banks was pressurising the Union Government to go for
privatisation of public sector banks, he added.
Accept defeat gracefully: CM
NAWANSHAHR, March 1 Ridiculing the pre-poll Congress claim that the Nawanshahr poll result would prove to be a referendum in its favour, Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Parkash Singh Badal today said as the peoples mandate against the Congress and others was clear, losers should not try to create hurdles in the way of development of the area.
He said this white addressing a gathering during vishal sangat darshan at the Government Senior Secondary School grounds here.
He said the Congress and other parties, particularly the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) should accept the defeat in a graceful manner and not indulge in cheap machinations to disturb the development process to be initiated in the district in a big way.
Expressing gratitude to people of the constituency, Mr Badal said zeal exhibited by them matched with the one shown by people in the elections held after the Emergency was over in the country in 1977. You have passed your test. Now it is our turn to clear that test, which is a test of love and confidence, he said.
I will do whatever I had promised to do for the prosperity of people and area within two years, otherwise you are free to change us, said a gleaming Mr Badal.
He said as promised, his government would construct a bridge on the Sutlej, which would shorten the distance between Nawanshahr and Khanna.
He announced a grant of Rs 30 lakh for the development of Rahon township and Rs 50 lakh for Nawanshahr. He announced that the seats in the local B.Ed. college would be increased from 100 to 150. He also announced that a direct Nawanshahr-Katra bus service would be started soon.
Earlier, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, said an amount of Rs 40 crore had been earmarked for the construction of bridge on the Sutlej and a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting on Tuesday.
Criticising the Congress and its policies of divide and rule, he said the people of the constituency had given a deadly blow to the Congress which was on the verge of collapse after the poll debacle.
Mr Gurdev Badal, Agriculture Minister thanked the voters for reposing faith in the SAD policies.
Giani Puran Singh says no to
AMRITSAR, March 1 Giani Puran Singh today ruled out the possibility of tendering resignation as Jathedar of Akal Takht in wake of defiance of controversial hukamnama by the SGPC Chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, and a large number of the SGPC members on February 28.
Talking to mediapersons at his residence here, Giani Puran Singh said he was not a coward. I will continue to be the Jathedar, he said. The Jathedar reiterated that Bibi Jagir Kaur had violated the hukamnama. He said she would continue to be excommunicated till she rejoined the Sikh Panth. He, however, hoped that the ongoing crisis in the Sikh Panth would be resolved shortly. He claimed that Bibi Jagir Kaur would have to appear before Akal Takht one day.
When asked that supporters of the SGPC chief believed that she was very much part of the Sikh Panth as her prasad was accepted at the Golden Temple and Akal Takht on February 28, Giani Puran Singh said she had violated the Sikh maryada by doing so. He also flayed Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht, who performed ardas to mark the end of her ekantwas.
Power theft: SDO among 10
CHANDIGARH, March 1 The Punjab State Electricity Board authorities have suspended at least 10 employees, including one SDO for their alleged connivance in power theft cases.
This was disclosed here today by the Chairman of PSEB, Mr G.S. Sohal, who led a team of senior officers, including members of the board for conducting a surprise checking of power meters in the Zirakpur division of the Board.
Speaking to mediapersons here this evening, Mr Sohal said that he was shocked to find a blatant theft of power in certain parts of Zirakpur with various methods being adopted. Following surprise check five employees were suspended today.
Talking about the special drive launched by the Board against power theft, Mr Sohal said that the revenue of the board would go up the at least Rs 10 crore this month due to the drive.
As many as 40 teams have been constituted in Ludhiana city alone for intensive inspection of power meters and to check power theft. An industrialists has been told to pay Rs 1.5 crore to due to the board as penalty. Another industrialist had been asked to pay Rs 27 lakh.
Apart from levying heavy penalty in theft cases, police cases had also been got registered. PSEB's target is zero operational losses by the end of the next financial year through various efficiency related drives.
He said the board had imposed fines of up to Rs 2 lakh in the case of domestic consumers.
The board had put meters of those power connection holders under surveillance who had one or more air conditioners.
Asked his estimate of power theft, Mr Sohal said that it was around Rs 350 crore per year. Many government departments were not paying power bills and outstandings against them were mounting. The issue of power theft by police stations and police lines had been taken up with the authorities concerned, he added.
A proposal to supply
power in bulk to police lines and collect charges against
such bulk supply was under study. The board authorities
may ask the Punjab Government to make some provision in
the budget in this connection.
School named after Baldev Singh
GARHSHANKAR, March 1 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, while addressing the Bhog congregation of Baldev Singh Mahilpuri, named the local boys school as Baldev Singh Mahilpuri Government Senior Secondary School, Mahilpur. He also announced to build a befitting memorial (utility work) in his memory and donated Rs 5 lakh to the village. He was speaking at Mahilpur village to mark the bhog ceremony of Baldev Singh today.
Others who paid tributes
to Baldev Singh were, ex-SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh
Tohra, ex-Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh, Cabinet
Minister Sucha Singh Langah Ministers of State Balbir
Singh Miani, Tikshan Soon, Mohinder Kaur and Sarwan Singh
and also Bibi Jagir Kaur.
Satlani heckled at function
JALANDHAR, March 1 Baba Mangal Singh Satlani, acting president of Gurmat Gurbani Parcharak Sant Samaj was allegedly hooted down and not allowed to speak at a function in connection with the "Antim Ardas" of Mr Baldev Singh Mahilpur a SGPC member at Mahilpur town in Hoshiarpur district today.
The trouble started when Baba Mangal Singh allegedly objected to the presence of Bibi Jagir Kaur the "ex-communicated" chief of the SGPC at the function said she should not be allowed to speak as she had been "ex-communicated" from the "Panth" by the Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Puran Singh.
Baba Paramjit Singh, the son of Mr Mahilpur and some others present objected to Baba Mangal Singh's comments and snatched the mike from him saying the function should not be used for settling personal scores.
The baba left the venue in a huff.
The incident took place after the Shiromani Akali Dal chief Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal president Mr Tohra had left the venue.
According to unconfirmed reports, Baba Mangal Singh was manhandled and his clothes torn. Baba Mangal Singh has, however, denied being manhandled.
Sikhism under threat: Jauhal
CHANDIGARH, March 1 The President of the Istri Akali Dal, Dr Shavinder Kaur Jauhal, said here today that there was a major threat to Sikhism from the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh, the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, and other so-called Panthic leaders.
Mincing no words, she said there people had caused a great harm to Sikhism in the past months by their acts. In fact, unfortunately Sikh "Kaum" has been put to ransom by those who describe themselves as protectors of the Sikhism.
Terming the publication of the calendar as a wrong step, she said calendars could not promote Sikhism. It could be promoted only with missionary zeal and spirit. The calendar would not stop the thousands of Sikh youths, who had become victims of drugs and narcotics especially in the Malwa belt from taking drugs and it would not also provide employment to them.
What Bibi Jagir Kaur has done in the past few months to promote Sikhism, she questioned. In fact, she said it would have been better to issue a "hukamnama" preventing the Sikh youths from taking drugs than other "hukamnamas" issued in the recent past. Even "sewa" like cleansing of the utensils in the community kitchen and polishing of the shoes was now called punishment in Sikhism while earlier it used to be a great service to be performed by fortunate ones, she said.
HC show-cause notice to Principal
CHANDIGARH, March 1 "Mere filing of a special leave petition in the apex court against a judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court does not stay the operation of the judgement", thus observed a Division Bench of the high court, comprising Mr Justice R.S. Mongia and Mr Justice J.S. Narang issued a show cause notice for contempt to Mr Bikramjit Singh, Punjab's Principal Secretary (Irrigation and Power) for April 4.
On a writ petition filed by Mr J.S. Bagga, S.E. (Irrigation and Power) the high court had on October 11, 1999 directed the respondent to consider the case of the petitioner for promotion as Chief Engineer with effect from the date his junior was so entitled, with all consequential benefits. The court had directed to implement the judgement within one month from the order. The petitioner was retiring on December 31, 1999, and the order of the high court was to be complied with by November 11, 1999.
However, an application was moved by the official respondent for extension of time for implementing the court's directions. Again another application was moved on December 15, on the ground that the court had filed a S.L.P. against the judgement in the apex court on November 22 and it sought an adjournment for three months. On the adjourned date the senior assistant of the official respondent placed on record the copy of the departmental order of January 20, promoting Mr Bagga as Chief Engineer with effect from June 27, 1997 the date his junior was promoted, but it was mentioned that the promotion was subject to final decision of the apex court in the S.L.P.
The Bench observed that as is evident from the direction given in order dated October 11, 1999 only one month's time was given to implement the court's order.
The S.L.P. thus filed was very much delayed. By passing the order dated January 20, the respondent had considered that the direction given in order dated October 11, 1999, has been stayed by mere filing of the S.L.P.
Over 50 pc respond to IT
JALANDHAR, March 1 Nearly one lakh residents of the total 1,68,000 in city and surrounding areas who had got such notices during past one year, have filed their replies with the local office on the Income Tax Department of the last day of filing of their replies today.
The office had asked the residents having facilities like telephones, cars and those who had travelled abroad to file their returns by February 29 under the scheme as per the national income tax policy introduced in the last budget.
Jalandhar is one of 54 major cities covered under the scheme by the department which had written letters asking residents to file their income tax returns or replies within the stipulated period, failure of which could lead to invoking of penal action.
Sources in the department said the response to letters sent to the residents of the city as well as nine villages on the outskirts of the city was initially cold. But the pace of pouring in the replies picked up as soon as the last date approached. Two months back on an average we were receiving 100 odd replies or returns a day, but during the past one week we have been getting more than 2000 responses everyday, said Mr Tejinder Pal Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Income Tax. He said to motivate people to get themselves assessed or to file their returns, the department had to make extra efforts and had organised about 20 camps in different parts of the city during the past two months. But in spite of this, the response is not overwhelming or near to what exactly was expected by us, he said.
Interestingly, the implementation of the scheme had run into controversy as a large number of people had complained of harassment at the hands of department officials on different accounts. In addition to having got unfriendly treatment at the hands of officials dealing with such cases at specially created windows at the main office, many people complained that notices were blindly delivered by the department to almost everyone without taking care of the real economic status as per the guidelines laid down by the department. Some people had complained that those people who had died more than a decade ago were also served notices.
Admitting some anomalies in the distribution of letters, Mr Tejinder Pal Singh, said these occurred due to lack of proper data with the municipal corporation on the basis of which the department could establish the proof of residence in most of cases. In such cases we had to depend upon telephone directories power bills records for getting addresses, he said. He said to redress the genuine grievances of people, the department was going to set up a special cell where such cases would be dealt with.
In cases of death,
the next of kin should not worry about the notices
unnecessarily as all that they need to do is to submit a
reply in the office along with a death certificate of the
person concerned he said. He explained that hearing
opportunity would be extended to those people who had
failed to file their replies within the stipulated period
and penalty would be imposed in case the replies were
found not to be satisfactory.
Govt cautioned on
AMRITSAR, March 1 A Former Minister for External Affairs Mr RL Bhatia, yesterday cautioned the government against the euphoria being built up by the media about the visit of the US President, Mr Bill Clinton.
Mr Bhatia remarked that it was impossible for Americans to abandon its strategic ally, Pakistan for the sake of India. He pointed out the USA had been patronising Pakistan for its own vested interests but was ignoring the worlds largest democracy. The Americans must respect the Indian point of view on terrorism, dangerous security environment in South East Asia, CTBT and other issues.
The former minister felt many rounds of Indo-US talks between Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and his counterpart Steve Talbot bore no positive results and the issue of the CTBT continued to dog both the nations. It was strange that the US Senate and Congress had not ratified the CTBT which had put a question mark on the treaty itself.
Mr Bhatia said the US
Presidents visit was primarily to promote American
business interests in India. Mr Clintons agenda was
to take care the interest of US-based big multinational
corporation who wish to dictate their terms and
Steps to tackle unemployment
CHANDIGARH, March 1 The Punjab Government has decided to reactivate the Foreign Employment Cell so that unemployed youth could not be duped by unscrupulous elements and fake travelling agents, who charge heavy amount for illegally sending them to foreign countries.
Disclosing here today, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Punjab Local Government, Labour and Employment Minister, said that the entire record of the cell was being computerised so that the data could be readily available. Concrete steps were being taken since the inception of the SAD-BJP Government during the past three years to eradicate unemployment from the state. To tackle this menace an amount of Rs 2.36 crore was disbursed as unemployment allowance amongst 20,556 educated unemployed youth.
In accordance with the directions of the State Government, a scheme namely Employment Festival was launched in Punjab. These Employment Festivals were organised in the villages covered under the focal point scheme. As many as 241 festivals had been organised in the state during the past three years. According to Mr Tandon the main objective of these festivals was to provide knowledge regarding various job avenues to the youth and also to register the names of those who were still jobless.
The Minister further said that at present 5.90 lakh unemployed persons were registered in different employment exchanges of the State. Out of the total unemployed persons 1.47 lakh were women while 1.76 lakh and 20,850 were Scheduled Castes and ex-servicemen, respectively. During the past three years the state employment exchanges received 9202 requisitions for different categories of jobs from different organisations and institutions and 3692 candidates were absorbed in gainful employment after formal interviews.
Employees flay Union Budget
PATIALA, March 1 The Union Budget has been severely assailed by the Punjab and UT Government Employees Joint Action Committee.
The committee leaders, headed by its General Secretary, Mr Darshan Singh Lubana, have described the Budget as anti-employee, anti-middle-class and pro-rich. They said the Prime Minister and his socialist colleagues like Mr George Fernandes, Mr Nitish Kumar and Mr Ram Vilas Paswan had been campaigning for enhancing the personal income tax limit to Rs 1 lakh and raising the interest rate of small savings, including the GPF, but, when in power, they had started tightening the noose around employees and the middle class.
They condemned the Budget for allegedly extending incredible benefits to the users of luxury items at the cost of the poor, down trodden and middle class families. They demanded that luxury items should be taxed heavily and in return, the middle class and the poor should be granted benefits by raising the personal income tax limit to Rs 1 lakh, standard deduction to Rs 50,000 and deposits of small savings to Rs 1 lakh.
The interest rate on
small savings should also be raised to 18 per cent per
annum so that these schemes could attract more investors.
They said they would contact leaders of various Central
Government Employees Unions to launch a stir to press for
the fulfilment of these demands.
'Budget dull and directionless'
PATIALA, March 1 The proposed Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha has drawn flak from economic experts in the Department of Economics, Punjabi University, here,
Dull, unimaginative, directionless and vision-less are the phrases used by the experts expressing their views on the Budget. It was also described as buckling under the dictates of the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation, anti-common man and a traders Budget rather than a development Budget.
Dr Sucha Singh Gill, a noted economic expert, said it seems the Budget was prepared under the guidelines of the WTO which advocates opening of markets, lowering customs duty and reducing subsidies all of which have been incorporated in the budgetary plans.
He said particular areas of concern were the increase in defence Budget and the urea hike with reduction of fertiliser subsidies, Dr Gill cautioned that the defence Budget amounts to unproductive expenditure and advocated that history reveals that problems cannot be solved by force. Modern power is of the economics and not of weapons.
Then he said the farming sector was already in acute financial crisis. The government had already announced that the procurement price of farmers produce will not be increased in the next two years. Under such circumstances increasing the cost of inputs by hiking the urea price would be the proverbial last straw on the camels back.
Dr R.S. Ghume said the Budget has also failed to provide steps for poverty eradication as well as employment generation, he said, adding that the most intriguing factor of the Budget is the facade of being pro-common man. He said the Finance Minister had taken pains to explain that he had not put burden of taxes on the masses. However, everyone is aware that ultimately it is the common man who has to bear the brunt of the price rise. He said there was no element of swadeshi in the proposals.
Dr Janak Raj Gupta, another expert in economics, called the Budget an encroachment upon the interests of the states. He said the Centre had put taxes on such heads which interestingly, the states should have levied. For instance, he said the proposed tax on agriculture used for non-agriculture purposes was a step in the right direction but the tax money should be given to the states.
Mr Gupta said that plan to use disinvestment money in development of infrastructure and not in paying public debts was also a positive point. However, the provision of including a telephone connection owner in the income tax payee category was not praiseworthy, instead, he said tax should be assessed on the quantum of the bill paid.
According to Dr
Jaswinder Brar, the Budget actually reflects the
interests of the global capital, and there was nothing
tangible for the deprived sector in the Budget. Moreover,
he opined that the Budget would operate against the
interests of states such as Punjab having agriculture
AMRITSAR, March 1
The SDM, Ajnala, was not transferred and suspended over
the demolition of Ram Tirath Temple but over the
demolitions of 25 rooms belonging to mahants residing
around the temple, as was wrongly mentioned in the
report, Balmikis hold up traffic, published
in The Tribune on March 1.
Actress Upasna Singh honoured
CHANDIGARH, March 1 Bollywood star Upasna Singh and folk singers from Canada, Mander brothers, were felicitated at the eighth Lal Chand Yamla Jatt Yaadgari Cultural Festival held at Malerkotla yesterday. The Union Sports Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who was the chief guest at the function, said all cultural organisations which were behind the promotion of Punjabi culture, folk and art would be encouraged with financial assistance and grants.
Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa was also felicitated with the Punjab Rattan award by the Punjab Cultural Promotion Council. Also felicitated at the function were Devinder Singh Chhina, Mr GS Brar, Mr Nirmal Singh Bhangoo, Mrs Harjinder Kaur (a former Deputy Mayor of Chandigarh), wrestler Jagdish Bhola and folk singers Akashdeep, Jaswinder Brar, Bhinder Dabwali, Bechain Bedil, Sachin Ahuja and Bhinder Nawan Pind.
Death of newsman mourned
CHANDIGARH, March 1 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and the State Minister for Urban Development, Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, in separate statements have expressed grief over the death of Mr Prem Goyal, a Sangrur-based journalist.
Mr Badal said that the
state had lost a seasoned journalist in Mr Goyals
death. Mr Balian said that Mr Goyal always championed the
cause of the downtrodden and his contribution in the
field of journalism would be remembered for a long time
MC bid to remove encroachments
PATIALA, March 1 The Patiala Municipal Corporation is locked in a war of attrition with religious organisations over misuse of government land for religious buildings with the demolition of a religious structure recently leading to an agitation by various bodies.
The local police today did not allow agitationists protesting against the demolition of a religious place to proceed in a procession to the Commissioners office. Subsequently, various bodies threatened to start an indefinite hunger strike if the religious structure was not restored near Lehal Colony of the city. They later said their protest was being deferred till Monday next as they had been invited for a meeting by the Municipal Corporation.
At stake is prime government land in Lehal on which a religious structure was constructed recently. Municipal Corporation Commissioner K. S. Kang when contacted said only the walls of the structure were demolished after complaints from residents during a Sangat Darshan presided over by Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir. Mr Kang said the roof of the structure was still to be constructed when the demolition was affected. He said the demolition took place as the structure was an encroachment and it had not been passed in any manner. He said it was only after the demolition that some bodies claimed it was a religious structure.
However, this view is contested by various bodies, including the Shiv Sena, Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) and the Bajrang Dal. Their leaders Inderjit Dhiman, Pawan Kumar Gupta and Kishore Madaan claim that the corporation had demolished the religious structure without any warning and that it was complete in all respects before demolition. They have demanded restoration of the structure failing which they will start an indefinite hunger strike at the site.
While the demolition at Lehal has resulted in protests, already, the corporation is also faced with an illegal structure having been partly constructed at Dhobi Ghat in the city. The construction of the structure has been presently stopped after complaints from residents of nearby Khalsa Mohalla. Presently a police post has also been posted at the site. Corporation Chairman K.S. Kang said the ground in Dhobi Ghat had been earmarked for washing purposes but people now wanted to establish a mandir out there. He said the issue had been referred to the Deputy Commissioner.
Mr Kang said there was
need to demarcate government land. He said in some cases
government departments do not own the land and only
complain when encroachments take place. He gave the
example of how empty land near Gurbaksh Colony on the
Rajpura road was recently used for hosting a Bhandara
following which the demand to restore the religious
structure which had been demolished during the Congress
rule had been raised.
Commissioner to probe demolitions
AMRITSAR, March 1 The Punjab Government has entrusted the inquiry of the recent demolitions around Ram Tirath Temple to the Divisional Commissioner of Jalandhar, Mr B.K. Srivastava.
The commissioner has appealed to all parties concerned to meet him on the temple premises on March 7, at 9.30 AM.
Gang of dacoits busted
PATIALA, March 1 The district police has claimed to have busted a gang of dacoits planning to strike in Nabha, near here.
According to a press note issued by Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, Senior Superintendent of Police, here today, the dacoits were responsible for a number of crimes in several places, including this district, recently.
A number of stolen goods along with arms used in the operation have been recovered.
The police raided a forest near Nabha last night after receiving information about the gang. Only three of the five could be arrested. They are Karnail Singh, Kulwant Singh and Surinder Singh.
MALERKOTLA March 1
The Malerkotla police has arrested Hanif Mohd, son
of Ali Mohd, a resident of Madina Basti here for
allegedly possessing nearly 600 kg of poppy husk. A case
has been registered against the suspect, according to DSP
Surinder Singh Saini.
Rice millers a worried lot
GURDASPUR, March 1 Rice millers, arhtias and farmers are a worried lot as government is not lifting levy rice from the rice millers. As many as 1000-wagon load of rice valuing Rs 22.50 crore has piled up with the rice millers in the district.
According to Mr Raman Aggarwal, spokesman for the rice millers, it was binding on the part of the District Food and Civil Supplies Department to lift the entire levy rice from them. The department is reluctant to do so before the completion of government custom milling of the existing stock. The levy rice of those rice millers who have no pending government custom milling is also not being lifted.
Mr Aggarwal says the district has enough space and government custom milling has been achieved more than 80 per cent the highest in the state.
The direct impact of non-lifting of levy rice results in the denial of payments to arhtias who in turn do not pay the farmers.
Several deputations of rice millers and arhtias have met the District Food and Supplies Controller. A joint dharna was held by rice millers and arhitas here yesterday.
Mr Aggarwal said the rice millers were ready to do government custom milling in proportion to the amount of levy rice to be lifted by the department.
Mr Sukhdev Singh,
District Food and Supplies Controller said that there
were specific instructions to lift levy rice only after
government custom milling of paddy was completed by rice
millers. Moreover, he said that there was a temporary
shortage of space in the district.
BKU leaders flay import of
MOGA, March 1 Three leaders of the Punjab unit of the Bharati Kisan Union, President Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, general secretary Manjit Singh and secretary Bupinder Singh Mahesari today condemned the Central Government for importing wheat and edible oils from foreign countries when huge stock of foodgrains was rotting in the government godowns in the state.
They said a number of industrial units in country would be forced to closed down due to this. These leaders described the union and state governments as anti-farmers and urged the people to take care of stock lying in their godowns. They also criticised the government for importing sugar and other eatable commodities from Pakistan.
These leaders also urged
the Union Agriculture Minister to announce the prices of
wheat and other foodgrains before the arrival of crops in
the market and demanded that price of wheat be fixed at
Rs 912 per quintal taking into consideration prices of
tractors and insecticides.
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